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Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots

3.57  ·  Rating details ·  3,177 ratings  ·  516 reviews
“Elegant, sensual, surprising, and rich, Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots delivers a world to us, populated with indelible characters whose fates, as they become entwined, spur us to read fast, faster, except to do so would be to miss the beauty of Soffer’s language, which is to be savored.” — Dani Shapiro, author of Family History

This is a story about accepting the people
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published 2013)
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Average rating 3.57  · 
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 ·  3,177 ratings  ·  516 reviews

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There are sentences in this book that will stay with me for a long time. Descriptions of human experience that are so deeply felt and so accurately relayed that you have these ahhh moments reading. For example, I loved when the older character was looking at her face in the mirror and wondering when she started looking so American, wondering if it was her use of English that reshaped her face. Jess's writing is sensual, she's got such a talent for plucking the right word and fastening it to anot ...more
Oct 10, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
At the risk of sounding like a very grumpy and picky reader, I have to say that this was another disappointment.
I found this to be an untidy mish-mash of unbelievable characters whose motivations never became completely clear. Lorca is clearly very damaged, but the reasons for this don't seem obvious. While her mother may be cold and remote, she isn't really neglectful and Lorca herself has let her relationship with her father lapse. Also - what are the authorities doing for her? I can't believ
Canadian Reader
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
When I visited Tel Aviv in 2008, I was treated to Shabbat dinner at the home of my friends' grandparents, Iraqi immigrants, who had fled to Israel in the 40s. It was one of the best meals I had ever eaten, pomegranates and persimmons mixed in with the rice and meat. I had eaten Persian food many times before, but this was even better. Upon my return, I searched the internet for an Iraqi Jewish restaurant in NYC, where I could once again taste these flavors. There was none to be found. Jessica So ...more
Jul 11, 2020 rated it really liked it
Another BINGO challenge pick which I thoroughly enjoyed. Admittedly I found some of the storyline contrived - but I liked the atmosphere, the inclusion of food, and the two main characters so much that I can easily overlook the book's flaws.
Lorca self-harms and is about the be sent to boarding school because of it. She is the child of divorces and unstable parents who believes if she can just prepare her mother's favorite meal, she can be saved.
Victoria is a new widow, an Iraqi Jew, a former che
Katia N
Sep 18, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
If not the recommendation in the Time magazine by Colum McCann I would never know about this book. But I very much enjoy McCann poetic prose, so I thought I give it a go. I cannot say unfortunately it's met my expectations. I do not want to criticise too much - it is a debut novel. And the girl who is writing it definitely has got determination and desire to tell the story. But i was not convinced it's achieved the bar which it has targeted at.

Firstly - what i liked - metaphoric language was qui
Stephanie Anze
Dec 08, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Lorca is fourteen years old and about to be sent to boarding school. To sway her mother, who is a professional chef, Lorca will attempt to cook the best dish her mother ever had: a Middle Eastern dish called Masgouf. Starting her search at the bookstore, Lorca looks through cookbooks and Zagat brochures, but finding a place that serves this dish proves difficult. That is until Lorca stumbles upon Victoria, a woman offering cooking lessons on Jewish/Middle Eastern cuisine. As the flavors of the f ...more
Renita D'Silva
Okay, this review is going to be tough. This book made me angry and it made me cry. I loved some bits and loathed others. So,
The things I loved:
The writing. Absolutely awe-inspiring. I was going 'wow' and highlighting sections to re-read. The author's imagery, her food metaphors are simply beautiful.

The food. Glorious descriptions of food interspersed throughout the book.

The relationship between Lorca and Victoria was beautiful and emotional.

Dottie - I loved Dottie.

Blot -What a wonderful boy. Lo
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I was hoping for more from this book after reading a review in a magazine. However, every character in this book is broken in some way and it is difficult to find a character with which to identify. Lacking that involvement, I always find myself at arm's length with the story. Some of the characters do change and grow and there are some lovely descriptions of ethnic food, but I just wasn't engaged with the the book for almost it's entire length. And, towards the end, the novel seems to be headed ...more
Katharine Holden
May 30, 2013 rated it it was ok
Ugly, horrifying book that exploits a mentally ill teenage narrator to tell a not very original story. All the guff about sensual food imagery and the bonding of 2 generations talked about in the back cover copy isn't there. It's an ugly-for-the-sake-of-ugly story about a teenage girl who spends most of her time physically mutilating herself. Occasionally, she makes something nice to eat, but, mostly, she mutilates herself.
May 03, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019
This is a generous 3 star. I enjoyed some parts of the book, like the food part, but there were many parts that were really unresolved to me.

(Caution: these are probably spoilers)

Lorca - what’s her deal? What made her want to mutilate herself? Because she wanted her mother’s attention? It seemed to be more than that, but it was never really explained.

Her mother - what’s with the attitude towards her daughter? Was the mother really so busy working? Why does she act that way towards her daughter
Pamela Barrett
Apr 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Great writing and food; what’s not to like? I loved this slowly unraveling story about an emotionally wounded teenaged girl, her distant self absorbed mother, and an elderly widow who is drawn into a complex relationship with the teenager. It is an exotic feast of words.

The girl, Lorca, tries to find favor with her mother by cooking her favorite foods; wanting to prove that she is worthy of her love. Lorca’s mother is a head chef and creative director at one of New York’s finest restaurants, an
Apr 27, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the interest of full disclosure, I have known Jessica Soffer since a few days after her birth and her parents even longer. Without prejudice, I can say that this is a wonderful book--beautifully written and heartfelt. And what an imagination Jess has -- to create a character like the mother, who is nothing like her own mother, and the girl, who is nothing like Jess. The prose is marvelous--I could get lost in the images, especially the food metaphors, which keep reminding the reader that this ...more
Aug 25, 2014 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I am happy that at last I finished this book. it was unnecessarily long, full of cheesy iterations of sentiments that you could express with a few words and unable to make you care for its characters. You could only read a sentence out of each paragraph and make it a 100 page book instead of 480. I thought paying attention to people and foods who aren't always star of the books is brilliant but you need to tell a fascinating story to make these settings shine!
Noor Al-Zubaidi
Dec 03, 2013 rated it really liked it
I started reading this book because a website somewhere recommended it as one of the best books of 2013, and what caught my eye was the word 'masgouf' in italics somewhere in the review, my eyes lingered there not believing that there's this book here, and it's about an Iraqi dish and my mind was set. I was going to read it no matter how sappy or cliche it would be.

It's nothing like I imagined it would be, it's about food and so much more. It's about a daughter wanting to find her way into her
Nov 06, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: foodie-reads
I would really like to give Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots three and a half stars.

I think Soffer's mastery of descriptive language is superb. "Black lines were under his nails as if he'd scraped off all the words of a book, page by page by page" (51).

I loved that she had Lorca "think" in food. I was rooting for Lorca from the beginning.

I had a few problems. First of all, if a school official knows a student is harming self, there are definite steps to take (some mandated by law). Suspending sa
Aug 17, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 10, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club-pick
Jessica Soffer writes about Iraqi food, family, mentoring and underneath it all is a dark cloud of longing for motherly affection and love, while the main character, Lorca, cuts herself to feel that she is alive. She also touches briefly on an area of history which isn't talked about very much, the Farhud in Iraq when Jews were forced to leave or die, a scenario seen in many places but not often publicized about Iraq. Jessica writes too about aging with incredible insights about the diminishing ...more
Sep 11, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Taken directly from the book's description: "This is a story about accepting the people we love, the people we have to love and the people we choose to love, the families we're given and the families we make. It's the story of two women adrift in New York, a widow and an almost-orphan, each searching for someone she's lost. It's the story of how, even in moments of grief and darkness, there are joys waiting nearby." Well written.
Michelle Melski
Nov 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2017
This was a book that I chose randomly from my local library without knowing the author or having heard of the book before. And what a surprise it was! It’s a lovely, heartbreaking story and well worth a read. A hidden gem!
Probably 3.5 stars for me overall.

Tomorrow There Will Be Apricots is an interesting book--on one hand I loved it for the food descriptions and imagery that filled it, but I also found myself very slow at working my way through it, as the story made me sad--there is so much loneliness, pain and loss captured in its pages. Lorca is a 14-year-old girl who is desperate to gain the love and attention of her very distant (to the point of being cruel) mother. Her mother is a chef and Lorca tries to sh
Sep 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book grabbed me from the first chapter, with the character of Lorca, a desperately lonely teenager who cuts herself. This “heartwarming” book was surprisingly gritty and emotionally raw. I didn’t want to put it down and I didn’t want to leave these characters.

Lorca, named for the poet, is caught between an emotionally manipulative mother and an indifferent father. When she’s found cutting herself and expelled from school, her mother threatens to send her to boarding school, so she decides
Laura Hogensen
Sep 16, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: book-club
When I started this book, I thought I could guess the direction it was going - troubled girl, distant mother, absent father, boy love interest that all come together happily in the end. This book surprised me by being far deeper and more poignant than I expected. Soffer's main character, Lorca, is struggling to find her identity as an individual. This is made incredibly difficult by her distant, self-absorbed, emotionally frigid, narcissistic mother (no love lost on this character from me). Lorc ...more
Apr 19, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition

Lorca, Victoria and Blot, three damaged people, populate this novel that touches on Iraq, cutting and drug addiction leavened by lies, secrets and poor parenting. Ultimately hopeful, the book drags a bit after many chapters of discouraged, depressed people. I was happy to see the end.
The three main characters, Lorca’s mother and Victoria’s “best friend” Dottie are all clearly drawn. Each is likeable except for Lorca’s mother who is clearly the vi
DNF. I only made it through p. 10 so I have no idea if there are redeeming pieces to this book. What I read was twisted and depressing. (And not easy to follow for the few pages I read. I actually couldn't understand some of the innuendos. For example, the character was accused of using drugs but she had a knife to her thigh. Having no exposure to either drugs or cutters, I was confused and thought maybe she really was a drug addict until I comprehended from the thrill she got from burning her h ...more
Aug 12, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Very rarely do I abandon a book, however, by page 87, I felt no desire to read this novel to completion. Despite the cheerful title and book jacket, the content was too dark, heavy, and sadly predictable. And apparently, after reading other reviews here, I'm not alone in my dislike and abandonment. There's a book-flavor for every hungry reader out there...this one just wasn't my slice of pie.
May 25, 2014 rated it did not like it
I did not enjoy any aspect of this book, and that is a rare thing for me to say. The characters are extremely unrelatable and self centered. It is a very downer book. There are parts that seem upbeat, but they only appear this way because they're juxtaposed between very depressing and nearly pathetic thoughts and feelings of the characters. I wish I hadn't wasted my time reading this.
Rayna Forman
My main complaint about this book concerns the the plot. The young woman in this story has a serious psychological problem. Her mother's cavalier attitude toward this problem is unacceptable to me. I sympathized with the older woman in the book and found her to be a welcome counterpoint to the mother.
Apr 18, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: heartstrings
I almost always enjoy a novel that is written by an author that obviously loves cooking and food. This book eloquently spans and connects women of different generations through the art of cooking and their individual neuroses.
Angela Langowski
May 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wonderfully written book

I loved the characters and the poignancy of their lives and how they interconnected. I also really liked the recipes and stories about how certain recipes were important to them.
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JESSICA SOFFER earned her MFA at Hunter College, where she was a Hertog Fellow. Her work has appeared in Granta, Vogue and the New York Times, among other publications. Her father, a painter and sculptor, emigrated from Iraq to the US in the late 1940s. She teaches fiction at Connecticut College and lives in New York City.

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